January 25, 2019

Video Walls – Powering More Secure Decision-Making

Public facing organizations have come under almost constant attack in recent years. According to the Data Breach
Investigations Report
, published annually by Verizon, there were 22,788 security incidents involving public sector entities in 2018. Security has become a central priority for all societies, especially those providing services to the public.

According to the report, one thing companies can do is maintain a high state of vigilance regarding what exactly is happening on their systems at all times. Control rooms can provide situational awareness on a large common operating picture, and are core to achieving this state of vigilance in an efficient way. The continuous availability of shared information on large displays is becoming an operational necessity for industries such as utilities, energy and security. This continuous supply of shared information can best be presented via a video wall.

A video wall isn’t just a large, fancy display—it is a critical part of a systems’ situational awareness. Video wall systems benefit operations in control room applications and help make your control room operations run more securely and effectively.

The primary purpose of the video wall in a control room is to provide staff with a true common operating picture where information from real-time sources such as computers, video, networked applications, or security cameras may be simultaneously shown and shared. This enables and promotes informed decision making on a unified level which is always important for mission-critical operations, especially in light of today’s cybersecurity threats.

This unified communications and improved situational awareness is particularly important for businesses like utilities, where a network breach can have disastrous implications. For control room display of Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) information along with other critical data and graphics, all utilities control rooms require visually high-resolution display systems where image clarity and reliability is not only critical, but imperative for smooth operations. It is impossible to display high-resolution SCADA on a small monitor without compromising quality and sacrificing readability.

When deploying a video wall to power better decision-making, control room operators should consider the following:

  • Total Support. Make sure you choose a partner who can deliver total support for your video wall. Real
    time decision-making depends on robust equipment able to perform in any conditions, with seamless, trouble-free operating procedures that come standard. Make sure your vendor partner is expert in all phases on deployment – design, installation and ongoing maintenance and support.
  • Think outside the box—literally. Designing an LED wall isn’t like buying a TV, where you’re locked into an aspect ratio. Direct-view LED walls can be any shape. We look at a rectangle computer screen all day at work, and then we go home and stare at a rectangle TV. When you take a different approach, like spreading out the LED panels so that there’s negative space between them or displaying them vertically, you are more likely to keep staff attention on the screen due to the unexpected shape.
  • Operational concerns: content management and workflows. Who will be responsible for operating the video wall? The content must be managed somehow. This is typically done via a user interface on the media server. It’s important to note that media servers tend to give users more access than companies would like. The ability to control and change too many aspects of the content can create issues when those changes are made without the proper approvals – especially problematic in a SCADA environment. This problem can be avoided altogether by having a custom interface built to your specific workflows. This way, you have access to exactly what you need to manage content efficiently without access to the backend programming, which should stay protected.

Video walls improve decision-making by giving control room operators better access to information in a visually powerful way. That’s the straightforward value proposition for video walls, and why they can play a key role in improving cybersecurity.  

Yiannis Cabolis

Yiannis Cabolis, Director of Technology Innovation at Electrosonic, shares the inside track on how technology drives innovation. He brings 30 years’ experience monitoring emerging technologies, developing best practices and driving Research and Development to solve challenges and help clients understand how to benefit from the latest engineered technology solutions.